Where to find the best butts
You probably thought this was going to be some kind of not-so-erudite musing on callipygy, historically one of my more favored subjects, and if so, consider yourself fooled. Because the word “butt,” which most often in the English language refers to rounded hindquarters, also has a homonym that can defined as “cigarettes, smoked, then thrown on the ground and stomped until they, uh, stop smoking.”
I was talking to Michael the other day, out in front of Benny’s on Q Street. It was before drinking hours, and Benny’s isn’t like the Zeeb or one of the other lounges that serves a 6 a.m. liquid breakfast menu, despite the presence of a newspaper with reporters and stuff a block up the hill. Michael had been looking for enough residual tobacco to satisfy his nicotine craving, and right outside a bar is, according to him, one of the best places to score, because people can’t smoke in bars anymore, and they have to go outside for a smoke, and then they tend to only smoke enough to satisfy their urges before extinguishing their butts so they can get back to their drinks. During late winter months, he pointed out, the better butts tend to be under the eaves of the building, because if they’re too far out on the sidewalk, the rain makes them useless for smoking purposes.
I probably shouldn’t give up this secret, because Michael and a few others probably figure they’re onto a pretty good thing — Benny’s, the Press Club, the Zebra Club, Old Tavern, maybe even Sweetwater a few blocks away, or the carport outside Zelda’s — so if you’re jonesing for a smoke and you don’t have the cash for a fresh pack (like me, but I gave up the cigs because I smoked like a complete spazz), be sure to go to Round Corner or the Monte Carlo or one of the other watering holes outside Michael’s radius, as a favor to him. But that’s where you can find the good butts.
I see Michael around Bee Hill, or over by the tracks by Zuda Yoga sometimes, and I hear him sometimes when he’s pissed off and ranting. He’s a nice person when you talk to him, though, a guy in his early 50s who shleps his stuff around in a shopping cart and likes to get a good heat on at times. According to him, if you’re pushing a cart and working on a buzz, it’s probably best to stay pretty close to the railroad tracks, around one of the nearby vacant lots, and away from dedicated business districts, because the cops on the midtown beat tend to roust the more transient members of our community if they stray toward the latter, especially if those community members are actively showing signs of inebriation.
I like talking to him. Throw a little vodka into me and I’m right there, and I’d probably be more inclined to be riding the Black Maria to Front Street for a good hosing off and a shot at detox, because I’m just that kind of drinker.
Which is to say that I’m grateful every morning I wake up sober. —Jackson Griffith